Stepford Husbands: Write a List, Let God Manufacture Him

Patrick-Dempsey-and-son

Recently I was talking to my friend about wanting the perfect family, like we’d always dreamed of. Our conversation inspired this post.

On Writing a “Perfect Husband” List

We were taught this: ‘If I write a list of what I want in a man or a family, God will make it happen’ but you know, this isn’t Stepford, where men are created in a factory based on a list of criteria. There are very normal guys who want to date you, but probably won’t fit your list. Maybe you’ll like one of the guys who likes you or maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll date the guy you think is perfect for awhile and find out that even though you’re deeply in love, it isn’t working. I know we were taught to make it work, regardless, but it’s okay to let go. Maybe you’ll fall deeper in love at 50 than you were at 20. The point is–love and family isn’t as predictable as our pastors taught us. Some people are “unlucky” with love. Others get lonely and want a relationship. Neither person is wrong. Love never works out like we want and this is the reality of life; when it comes to love you can say what you want all day long but that doesn’t mean the List Guy will come waltzing in and rescue you from being lonely. In fact, this mentality sets relationships up for failure because we have all these expectations of how men and women should act (we think men should ask us out or they aren’t a “man”; and men think we shouldn’t be emotional because they put it on their list; or fill-in-the-blank with all the expectations we have from society, religion and culture and you have a big mess). We asked for it on a list, so we should be able to demand it from that person, right? Wrong. Our pastors were wrong.

Not that you can’t have what you want to some degree. I mean, you get to choose your partner and you can settle down anytime you want to with whomever you want to. It’s just that life isn’t a bed of roses and neither are relationships. Even the Perfect Guy is going to disappoint you from time to time; not because he’s a bad guy but because he’s a human.

At one point in time, being a wife was our number one priority. I have a feeling that your creative dreams are much more important to you now, and your ideal guy is probably very different now than it was then. Now, it’s probably more important to you to have a partner who supports you for your creative side and for the strong, determined woman you’ve become. Sometimes women who fit your profile (and mine) don’t settle down as soon as other women simply because we dream of making a living off being creative and that’s a hard thing to make happen while we’re supporting ourselves at our day jobs. That’s not to say our life choices are more important than women who choose to be mothers (and VICE VERSA); but it will explain a lot when you find yourself like me, 32 and your life looking a whole lot less traditional than you expected it to be. It’s okay. You will make sacrifices for your art and your career that other people won’t make and you will stay up all night rehearsing or learning new skills or working on your own projects without pay. The hard work will pay off one day, though, and even though your life won’t look anything like what you expected it to look like, it will in many ways look better than you could have planned and you will be more content because of that. Even if you don’t have the List Guy or his babies.

Q & A: Why Did You Lose Your Faith

The past few days have brought on a surge of new inquiries about why I lost my faith in God. Some people wonder How could you love Jesus so passionately and with such zeal and not love him today? Some people call me to tell me they’re praying for me, or if I have a bad day or go through a surge of anger, they pray for me.

To be fair, I always prayed for people. But by always I mean a span in my life that lasted about 10 years or less. From age 15, when a very catastrophic family event occurred, to 25 when another catastrophic even occurred, I prayed. I believed. I loved God.

I really did love God and now I truly do not believe he exists. I am what’s called an antitheist which is actually one step further than atheism, if you will. Christopher Hitchens wrote, “I’m not even an atheist so much as I am an antitheist; I not only maintain that all religions are versions of the same untruth, but I hold that the influence of churches, and the effect of religious belief, is positively harmful.” This is closer to what I believe than atheism. Religious belief and churches are harmful.

In case you’re not following, theism is the belief that at least one god exists. I find that idea not just unrealistic, but dangerous. I think it’s wrong.

Yes, I think I was wrong for 10 years. But religion is a very powerful force. There’s the pull of group thinking, peer pressure, societal pressures and essentially the false confidence in “knowing the truth.” It’s very appealing.

Atheism was not appealing to me. For years I assumed atheists were hateful and doomed. Then, I started thinking for myself (That’s not an insult. There’s no other way to say it.), discarded all my Jesus beliefs and attempted to reevaluate them one by one.

I asked myself questions:

  1. Where did I first hear this belief? Was I born thinking this way?
  2. What did my first experiences in church influence me to think and do?
  3. How did my desire for a “perfect family life” (my childhood was very dysfunctional) make religion appealing?
  4. At age 15, when first entering church, I doubted the Bible. Where did I lose my ability to doubt? Who influenced me to do so?

These questions were some of the beginnings of what you see now. But that’s been several years, and many other questions have followed.

If I ask you to question and doubt and you’re still very religious, it falls on deaf ears. To doubt, as I was taught at 15, means you do not have faith.

But is that so? Perhaps that’s not true with liberal or progressive Christians, but in fundamentalist or evangelical circles, it’s true.

So, if I wanted to doubt, how could I claim to be a Christian? I couldn’t.

Many people I know have a LOT of questions for me. I’d like to give you the opportunity to ask me anything about why I lost my faith.

Put your questions in the comments or you can email me at mycultlife@gmail.com.